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The Real Hero of ‘The Devil Wears Prada’

Thanks to John Krasinski, we are talking about something that truly matters: The Devil Wears Prada, and how important Emily Blunt’s character is to its legacy. (Which Krasinski would know, because he admits to seeing the film upwards of 72 times which, by my own standards, is still quite low.)

And true, at no point during the press tour for A Quiet Place has Krasinski or anyone said outright that Emily Blunt (whose character I will also refer to as “Emily Blunt” going forward because this is my space and I do what I want) was the story’s star. And at no point has anyone admitted that she overshadows even Meryl. So I’ll say it. Right here, and right now: Emily Blunt is the best character in The Devil Wears Prada.

Because to start, Andie (Anne Hathaway) is incompetent. She shows up to her job interview completely unaware of who she’s meeting with. She has no idea what fashion is, despite Runway being a fashion magazine. (The most famous famous magazine.) She wears outfits I wore to the bank when I was so unhappy with the bank and with my life that I’d completely given up and prayed that I would be fired and set free. She complains constantly. She talks to Miranda’s children despite being told not to. She is an idiot. A bumbling fool. Even my 89-year-old Lithuanian grandfather knows who Dolce & Gabbana is. And if he doesn’t, I’m sure he can still spell it.

And Miranda is the cornerstone. She is surrounded by idiots and she is tethered to a husband who is so weak he can’t handle bringing a book to a restaurant and waiting. Sure, she is kind of mean and yes, she is absolutely too demanding but also same and too bad: you don’t like it, leave the magazine. The year is 2006 and magazines are still very much cool and available to work at. You can’t stand the heat, get out of the sample closet. The woman has earned her place and she’ll be the EIC of Runway for longer than most of us will go on to live.

Nate is a child.

But Emily Blunt survives and thrives. And she, despite her excellent sense of style and ability to do her job well, is somehow eclipsed by Andie because girlfriend gets bangs and a set of Chanel boots. She gets hit by a car and still comes to work weeks later, going on to instill fear in who ends up replacing Anne Hathaway. She works sick, works tired, works frustrated, and still manages not to fly over her desk and scream when Andie won’t stop going on about her weekend despite being told to stop talking, for the love of all that is good. She is all of us, forced to watch people who don’t work as hard or have any ambition fail upwards even though they confuse “don’t speak to anyone and leave the book by the door, thanks” with “walk upstairs into someone’s private home.” And she doesn’t quit. She just . . . keeps working. Because life is hard and that’s what adults do.

Which doesn’t excuse her size shaming or meanness or refusal to eat carbs. I know this, and I’m not advocating for being petty or catty. But as an aside: everyone else in this movie is bonkers. No one thinks anything through. Not a soul knows how to communicate. At one point Andie’s friends steal her phone from her and play keep-away. At another point, Nate has a cry about his girlfriend missing his birthday. Something else happens with the editor of Paris Runway, and it’s important but in retrospect I guess not that important because I’m blanking on the specifics. I’m not saying Emily is the hero, but I am saying she is the Best. She’s the funniest. She’s the only one who reflects what it feels like to be surrounded by idiots. She is just trying to do her job, man, and now she has to train a grown-ass woman who thinks Miranda Priestly wants to read her story about a bus strike.

I just wish she’d eat more than just a cube of cheese.

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